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Connecting EtherCAT with TSN networks


Connecting EtherCAT with TSN networks

With the EK1000, Beckhoff expands the EtherCAT I/O system with a new Bus Coupler. The device enables the communication of EtherCAT segments with remote EtherCAT controllers via heterogeneous Ethernet networks. Through support of TSN (Time-Sensitive Networking) functions, the coupler enables to minimize delays caused by Ethernet switches, and the wide range of EtherCAT devices can be used in TSN network environments.

The EtherCAT TSN Coupler combines the advantages of the EtherCAT world with those of TSN networks. EtherCAT is designed to combine the numerous small data packets of digital and analog inputs – as they typically occur in industrial environment –, into a complete process image. TSN on the other hand, enables the definition of data streams in heterogeneous Ethernet networks for a real-time capable, prioritised transmission of such data streams across the network infrastructure. As a result, control systems can address multiple EtherCAT segments in real time via TSN across Ethernet networks. To this end, no modifications are required in the EtherCAT slave devices.

The EtherCAT TSN Coupler, placed as the first device within an EtherCAT segment, provides two Ethernet interfaces. One of these 100 Mbit/s ports connects the coupler with the Ethernet or TSN network. The second port can be used for optional integration of additional remote EtherCAT devices. The EK1000 ensures the transfer of telegrams from the TSN to the EtherCAT port with minimised delay. In this way, proven EtherCAT features such as distributed clocks and eXtreme Fast Control (XFC) or communication with EtherCAT-enabled drives are now also available within TSN networks. In networks without TSN extension, the Bus Coupler can also be used for integrating an EtherCAT network with a standard Ethernet network.



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